CLYMER - State Sen. Cathy Young's favorite football team is the Buffalo Bills, and her favorite color is red.
Those issues and many more important ones were discussed in the Clymer Central School gymnasium Friday as Sen. Young visited to school to speak to students about New York government and how it affects them.
''It affects you when you drive on a road or a bridge, when you have to go to the hospital and when you go to school here,'' Sen. Young told the eighth-grade and senior classes that were invited to hear her speak. ''The state government impacts you every day.''
State Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, speaks to students Friday in the Clymer Central School gymnasium.
P-J photo by Dave Emke
The senator was brought to the school through the efforts of middle school social studies teacher Matthew Kindberg, who said he invited her to give his students a real-life look into the state's political structure.
''We've been talking about participation in government and why it's important to them,'' Kindberg said. ''I think guest speakers like Sen. Young ... are good role models for the students to see in person, and they can get more out of it than they can by just listening to me or reading it out of a textbook.''
Sen. Young shared a story from her childhood about living on a dairy farm in Livingston County. Kindberg said part of the senator's appeal to the students was the fact that she grew up in a rural location similar to what they experience in Clymer.
''I was really excited when we got her to come, because she can relate really well,'' he said. ''Most of my kids have grown up on dairy farms and live on farms, so they were really able to relate to her and ask some thought-provoking questions.''
The questions ranged from silly - such as favorite football team and color - to those related to the senator's career and her role in molding the state's legislation. Sen. Young told the students that one of her main objectives in Albany is to advocate for the support of the state's No. 1 industry, agriculture, and in particular working to counteract devastatingly low milk prices.
''New York state is the third-largest producer of dairy in the country,'' she said. ''The dairy industry actually pumps about $2.3 billion into our economy. If we lose our dairy farms, it's a very (undesirable) situation.''
Sen. Young said she enjoys every opportunity she gets to speak at schools in her legislative district and hear students' input on issues which affect them.
''These eighth-graders had some really interesting questions,'' she said. ''I love this opportunity to get out here, and it gives me a chance to see the wonderful things our school districts are accomplishing.''